No Knead Recipe Variations

Menu of No Knead Videos:
Cranberry-Pecan Seeded Sour
Parmesan-Olive Steel Cut Oats

 

Here are some of my favorite No-Knead bread recipes. Each is distinctly different from the others, touching on some of what’s possible with this simple and hugely time saving bread baking method.

(Note: If you’re brand new to no knead bread baking, I strongly encourage you to give the basic no knead recipe a try first before moving into the variations.)

In each of the videos you will see I’m using sourdough starter as the leavening agent. The use of sourdough starter is usually my preference in baking but as the written instructions indicate, you can just as easily substitute instant yeast for the starter by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast in with the dry ingredients and leaving out the sourdough starter entirely. It’s that simple. I don’t want to see anyone deprived of the luxury of this bread experience if instant yeast is your preference for leavening.

As always, feel free to play with different flour mixes and ingredients to come up with your ultimate bread masterpiece.

Please leave your comments, questions and experiences at the bottom of the page.

December 14th, 2007 Update: Check out Kendra’s recipe for cinnamon raisin bread below. It sounds awesome. Thanks Kendra!

Also, see the post by Joanne Polayes with her variation of the cranberry pecan recipe.

July 2008 addition: Definitely check out Carolyn’s No Knead Sourdough Lavender Bread. Wow, well done Carolyn!

Jan. 27 2009 addition: For a great looking focaccia recipe, see Hedy’s post. And a little above that, Toni offers her focaccia variation which includes whole grains.

Feb. 9, 2009: See a Newfoundland favorite by Janet Kelly. Thanks Janet!

March 31, 2009: Donna Wakefield has discovered that baking with keifer for both leavening and flavor produces excellent bread. Her posts start here and continues above under her name (“Donna” and “Donna Wakefield”).

Dec. 22, 2009: Mike Owens suggests this no-knead variation: “I blend up some frozen spinach with the water and add to the flour. Then when I fold in thirds I add some grated Gruyere cheese to each fold and I do the trifold twice. It is fantastic. Hope others like it as well. Makes my lunchbox ham sandwiches more interesting.”

Aug. 1, 2010: Couldn’t resist adding this email from my new best friend ;). It includes some great no knead recipe variation tips…

“Hi Eric,

Ever since I found your website a couple years ago, we have not bought store bread (except for burger buns and pitas). Baking bread is a complete joy for me: making it is fun, seeing the results is amazing and the reactions I get from those I share it with are gratifying. Our “daily bread” is the regular sourdough (but I add 1 tsp.poppy seeds). The olive parmesan loaf is a special treat for when we have guests (my siblings love this one especially – we’re of Greek descent =)) – but I usually add a head of mashed roasted garlic to it.

I have even created my own sourdough KNM variation that I thought I’d share with you. Feel free to post it, if you’d like. It’s the basic NKM sourdough with 1/4c. chopped, pickled jalepenos and about 5 oz. shredded cheddar cheese mixed in. I was selling them to a neighbor for awhile, but then she started a weight-loss program that forbid bread (scary, huh?).

I currently take care of my elderly mother full-time, but all this bread-baking has led me to seriously consider baking as a career. I fondly imagine my own little bakery someday.

You have changed my life, Eric. Bet you don’t hear that everyday, but it’s true. Thank you.

- Elise Davies

Jan 1, 2011: Check out Bill Burk’s variation using 7 grain cereal. Makes an excellent sandwich bread.

Feb 27, 2011: Michelle Kaptor’s Cherries and Chocolate No Knead recipe looks like a winner.

Sep 9, 2011: Thanks Lisa K. for this gem - Black Russian  no knead. Based on a bagel recipe, it’s as intriguing and exotic as its name. 

Oct 17, 2011: Like Chocolate… a lot? Chocolate no knead recipe with great tips. Thanks Bart!

Mar 9, 2012: Here’s another Chocolate Cherry Sourdough version from Bradley that looks like a winner


Cranberry-Pecan Extraordinaire (makes 1 loaf)

1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz.) whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups (13 oz.) all purpose or bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1 1/2 cups purified water
1/4  cup sourdough starter or 1/4 tsp. instant yeast

(Read paragraph near top of page for instant yeast version of this recipe)

  • Combine the flours and salt
  • Mix the starter into the water until mostly dissolved
  • Mix the water/starter solution into the dry ingredients
  • Mix in the pecans and craisins
  • Cover bowl with plastic at let sit at room temperature for 18 hours
  • After 18 hours turn dough onto well floured surface and gently flatten enough to fold dough back onto itself a couple times to form a roundish blob. Note: This folding stage can be accomplished within the bowl, speeding up the process even further and leaving less of a cleanup.
  • Cover blob with plastic and let rest 15 minutes. During this rest period, coat a proofing basket or towel lined bowl with bran flakes.
  • Gently and quickly shape blob into an approximate ball and place in proofing basket or bowl.
  • Cover with a towel and let rise for 1-2 hours depending on room temperature.
  • As gently as possible, flip the dough into a Dutch oven or ceramic (e.g. La Cloche) baker preheated to 500F degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes at 450 degrees. See Great No-Knead Baking Techniques for more tips.
  • Allow bread to cool completely before slicing and eating. Warning: this most difficult step requires superhuman discipline and restraint.

You may have to adjust the baking times and temperatures to adapt to the various weights and materials of different baking containers.

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Seeded Sour (makes 1 loaf)

This recipe holds a solid spot on my “all time favorites” list. It is adapted from the George’s Seeded Sour recipe in Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery book.

1/4 cup (1 oz) rye flour
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups (13 oz) all purpose or bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 tsp. quinoa
3 1/2 tsp. millet
2 Tbs. amaranth
1/2 Tbs. poppy seeds

1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup sourdough starter or 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
2 Tbs. yogurt

Seed Topping Ingredients:

1 Tbs. amaranth
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 Tbs poppy seeds
2 Tbs. anise seeds
1 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds

Combine all the dry ingredients (except the topping ingredients) and then add to that the combined wet ingredients.
The rest of the baking steps are the same as those listed above for the Cranberry Pecan bread.

As shown in the video, I coat the proofing basket with the combined topping ingredients so they stick to the dough during the final rise.

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Parmesan-Olive (makes 1 large loaf)

This recipe makes one amazing loaf of bread. It’s great for special occasions, and considering the price of ingredients, you may want to reserve it for special occasions. Use fresh parmesan cheese and it’s likely you will not find this loaf’s equivalent in any bakery. They would have to charge too much!

1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz.) whole wheat flour
2 2/3 cups (13 1/2 oz.) bread flour
1 tsp. salt
7 oz. grated fresh parmesan cheese
2/3 cup pitted kalamata olives (cut in half lengthwise)
1 3/4 cup purified water
1/4 cup sourdough starter or 1/4 tsp. instant yeast

Follow the same steps as those listed above for the Cranberry Pecan recipe. Combine the dry ingredients (including the cheese) then add to that the combined wet ingredients and then stir in the olives. The ingredient measurements are a little different than usual as the cheese is salty to start with and the dry mix takes more water than usual.

Here’s a video from Breadtopia visitor, Archer Yates… Nice!

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Steel Cut Oats (makes 1 loaf)

It’s amazing what the addition of a mere half cup of steel cut oats can do to enhance and vary the quality of a basic loaf of no knead bread. During the long fermentation period, the grains soften and swell to give the bread a wholesome and satisfying flavor and texture.

Simple enough to whip together in a heartbeat and interesting enough to become a regular in your no knead rotation.

3/4 cup (3 oz.) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (3 oz.) steel cut oats
2 1/4 cups (10 oz.) bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup firm sourdough starter or 1/4 tsp. instant yeast

Pictured here: Awesome steel cut oats no knead by Breadtopia reader Marianne Preston
Marianne's Steel Cut Oats NK
Another Breadtopia reader, Allan Castine, offered this…

In my last e-mail to you, I mentioned that I had made your steel cut oats bread recipe with mostly excellent results.  My only concern, as I told you, was that the bread was a bit bland for my particular taste.

I made the recipe again yesterday with a couple of alterations:

I added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of salt and, following a suggestion from a friend of mine, I lightly toasted the oats in a dry saucepan over medium heat before adding them to the flour mixture.

The results were great. The bread was very tasty, i.e., not bland.
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{ 535 comments… read them below or add one }

breadtopia March 21, 2008 at 8:42 am

Hi Bob & Kay,

I don’t have any experience to speak of with using all spelt flour. But as far as the hard crust goes, I suppose you could try some of the things others have tried with NYT no knead recipe.

If you’re baking at a really high temperature (as is the case with NYT no knead), you could try lowering it.

If there’s room to raise your oven rack a notch higher, do that.

Do you use an instant read thermometer to test when your bread is ready? It may be finishing sooner than you think.

You can also try adding a Tbs of oil to the recipe. That will soften the crust a little. Some people brush the crust with a little melted butter after it’s come out of the oven.

The basic no knead recipe by nature tends to have a pretty thick (rustic) crust tending to the hard side.

You might love the new recipe (with video) I just added for the Cook’s Illustrated Almost No Knead bread. The crust is much thinner yet still crispy.

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Bob n Kay March 21, 2008 at 2:04 am

Great website Eric.
We bought a little NKB recipe book over 30 years ago and have been making NKB on and off ever since. Had a couple of bread makers in that time, but gave the last one away, we prefer the NKB.
We use wholemeal spelt flour, and bake in the traditional open top rectangular bakers pans.
The bread we turn out is quite heavy, but that’s OK, my only complaint is that all of the crusts are just SO hard.
Any suggestions ?
Cheers

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breadtopia March 19, 2008 at 8:44 am

Rick – I’m not really sure about any guidelines on adjusting for the addition of ingredients, other than general guesswork. Some are going to suck up moisture, some aren’t.

Even when I add steel cut oats to the no knead recipe, which of course takes up quite a bit of moisture, I don’t add extra water just because I like the way it turns out without any extra.

As for what causes gummy crumb, other than under baking, I’m not sure on that either. I remember hearing or reading something about that, but can’t recall what it was. Big help, huh?

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Rick in CO March 19, 2008 at 8:40 am

Thanks for your comments, John. You know what it’s like baking at alitude then! I’m experimenting too with the adjustments needed. Actually overall the results are wonderful with the NK method…I suppose I’m just looking to perfect it. What other ingredients have you all added with no adverse results? I know Eric has used olive, pecan, parmesan, oats, etc. I’d like to expand that to wheat berries, kamut, and more multi-grains for the NKB.

Good luck with your enterprise as it should be quite rewarding. I’d love to know what you end up doing in preparing the NKB with a large scale production such as if it works by doing one big batch and then cutting it into individual loaves.

Take good care.

Rick

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breadtopia March 19, 2008 at 8:10 am

John, a big congratulations to you on your plans to open up a bakery/pizzeria in your town! I wish you great success.

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John Summers March 19, 2008 at 7:48 am

Hi Eric,

Well, I think the bread could have formed up better if I had it on parchment paper to proof. The proofing basket I got from ya, had to have the liner washed because of how much the dough stuck to it. I had heavily floured it before I put the dough in but it still stuck to it. I too like Rick, am trying to figure out the rules but the book by Peter Reinhart, The Bread Bakers Apprentice, is incredible. I am goingo to work with some of the bread bakers math and see if I can’t get things to work out better. Another attempt this weekend. Oh, the bread is almost all gone. My family still ate it up even though it didn’t rise up the way I wanted it to. Oh, I have the starter I got from you going quite well and my own starter is really thriving. When I smell each, yours smells sour like I would expect a sourdough starter to smell like. When I smell mine, it smells more like alcoholish to me. It is a whole wheat starter and I have been feeding it KA bread flour. I will use a lot of it up this weekend and maybe get it switched over to the white variety by next week. I will let you know. On another note. Since I discovered your web site and have had success in my baking, I have decided to take it to the next level. I am studing Peter’s books to learn how to be a great baker and will be taking classes at KA. I plan on opening a bakery/Pizzaria in my town. I am going to specialize in wood fired pizza and breads. I have wanted to do this for a long time and think I can do it. I will keep ya’ll updated on how its going. For Rick, according to Peter Reinhart, You have to maintain a certain percentage of flour and moisture in bread for it to come out right. I think my onion and cheddar loaf was way to moist. I plan on cutting back the water some but don’t know how much yet. I am still reading his book. I am also getting a scale. No professional baker uses volume to measure their ingrediants. It is all by weight. That may also help you too. I know it is dry in CO, I lived there for 5 years. It does seem to impact cooking some. I will let you know what I find out as I read.

John In MO

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Rick in CO March 18, 2008 at 11:42 am

Oh, another question I had, Eric, was what adjustments, if any, are needed if one puts in other ingredients such as herbs, garlic, nuts, etc? Does it require more water to take up whatever the additional items might soak up?

Thanks again,
Rick in CO

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Rick in CO March 18, 2008 at 11:39 am

Thanks so much for you information, Eric. I did try it at the normal recipe and times but it came on a bit more gummy than I thought, hence the question about if I took it to the correct temp. In general, what does cause the inside to be gummy?

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breadtopia March 18, 2008 at 9:39 am

Hi John,

As I mentioned to Rick above, I was away for a few days. How did your bread turn out?

The no knead dough is very sticky. I’m not sure how anyone could work with it by hand without it sticking like crazy. So I’m curious to know how yours baked up.

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breadtopia March 18, 2008 at 9:01 am

Hi Rick,

Sorry it took so long to respond. I’ve been gone for a few days.

I’m really ignorant about baking at altitude (a lot of other things too, but we’ll stop at this for now). What I’ve read is that generally speaking, higher altitudes may require baking at higher temperatures and shortening the baking time accordingly. BUT, there are no set rules for this, each recipe is different and you just have to monitor the progress of the baking and resign yourself to a trial and error method.

I’ve heard from other bread bakers living at high altitude who have followed the normal instructions for the no knead bread and had great results.

Even the 210 degree rule is not a strict one. Bread can be done anywhere from 195 to 210.

So probably the best suggestion I could think of making is follow the recipe as is the first time and see how it turns out. Then take a wild guess at an adjustment, if necessary, and try again.

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John Summers March 15, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Hello Eric,

I love your videos. I was successful in making my own starter even though I bought yours. Today will be my first attempt at sourdough bread. I have chosen to use the Steel cut oats, the Cranberry Pecan and a variation on your Olive loaf. I decided to do a Sharp Cheddar and green onion loaf. There is a question I have on it. Mine seems very sticky and rather soft. It doesn’t seem like it is firming up very well. I will let you know later if it bakes up OK though. I had to use a lot of flour to keep it from sticking to my hands as I tried to form a ball and put it in my proofing basket. Many of the breads I have made here seem a little too wet. I don’t have a scale so I use the measuring cups. Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks again.

John Summers in MO

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Rick March 15, 2008 at 9:55 am

I know you’ve said that 205 is the right internal temp for eliminating the gummy crumb. Being at 5,000ft in altitude, would I make an adjustment for that? Water boils at approximately 204 here so would I subtract the 8 or so degrees and check internal for 197?

Thanks for a great site!

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nick March 13, 2008 at 8:51 am

Hi Eric,
Thanks for the website and recipes. My sister in Germany sent me the nkb video, so I thought I’d give it a try. She still uses the starter I gave her about 7 years ago. Apart from being a bit gummy inside, it was great.
English ovens mostly only go to 220C, a few will go to 250C so I guess that was the cause. Subsequent batches have worked very well, I experimented with extra time, and slightly lower hydration.
So three scant cups water to six sort of heaped cups flour to produce a double quantity. This get cooked in an oval casserole – an unenamelled cast iron lidded pot I picked up in Germany.
I usually use the sourdough starter which I made from the instructions you sent me. This has ended my sourdough drought. For years, all my starters and attempts to breed one ended in failure, and was reduced to buying fresh yeast from German supermarkets, bringing it home and freezing it.
For all the people who haven’t tried sourdough bread, especially the nkb method should give it a try, once the starter is going, it is, if anything even easier.
thanks again
yours
nick

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Scott March 11, 2008 at 7:50 am

Hi!

When I used to live in Germany I ate a lot of potato bread. Does anybody have any idea how either the NKB or ANKB recipe could be adapted for this? Instant potatoes? Actually mash some boiled potatoes up and use the water from the potatoes in the bread? Those were my ideas, but I have no idea how much. Would you want to include some wheat flour? I was hoping someone would have some input before I start experimenting.

Thanks!
Scott

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breadtopia February 29, 2008 at 6:37 am

Hi Jo-Ann,

You’re welcome!

I wouldn’t pre-soak the cloche. I don’t think it adds anything significant (like more steam). It’s more likely to increase the chances of cracking if it’s not thoroughly dried before using again.

If I’m understanding your second question, NEVER put a cold (room temp) cloche in an already preheated oven. Way too high a chance of cracking from the thermal shock.

Bring it up to temp with the oven. You can have the dough in to start will or place the dough in the cloche after it’s fully preheated (my preference).

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Jo-Ann February 28, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Hi
Eric, THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK!!!

Just got an Sassafras Oblong Baker as a gift and am wondering about a couple of things.
1. should I pre-soak it before putting in the oven for the first time, or any time
and
2. there are differing opinions as to whether to pre-heat the baker IN the oven or use it cold in the pre-heated oven.
I have used cast iron pots and home made la cloche tops and I did pre heat them in the oven.

I found that using 1-2 tsp of vital gluten and 1 tsp of lecithin does help the dough rise nicely.

My crusts are crunchy and both my husband and I love the crust and the chewiness of the bread.
I maintain the crisp crust by putting it in a paper bag[after it has completely cooled]. If you like chewy and a softer crust, then use a zip-lock bag.
Either way, it doesn’t last long.

I love this site and all the user comments.
I have baked only about 5-6 loaves of NKB, but, its the only way to bake. So many varieties, so little time..

thanks to all contributors.
jo-ann

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Lori O February 27, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Do you have to grease the clay pots? I have a glazed clay baker (Braten Topf). Thank you.

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heather February 22, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Thanks everyone. I will try the foil and no white flour method.

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Barbara Ross February 22, 2008 at 3:20 pm

Heather, I had the same problem. I had the dough not rising but spreading on the second rise, so I finally gave up and put it in a bread pan, let it rise there and baked it. I just took it out and it would NOT come out of the non-stick Caphalon bread pan! I had to pull and it broke in half, half of it still in the pan. Now, when I use 100% whole wheat or combo of whole wheat and other good grains (no white flour) I never had the problem of it sticking or of it not rising. I’m going back to that and not using any white at all. Try it. It should come off like nothing.

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Herb February 22, 2008 at 10:59 am

Heather
Jim’s post is right on! I bought some “No-Stick” foil, which really works good. Using this method you lift the foil and dough from the bowl it has risen in, place into baking creuset or dutch oven and remove without danger of burning yourself. Just cut the foil long enough to provide some to get a hold of.

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Jim Bernhardt February 22, 2008 at 9:30 am

I would keep following your recipe but, transfer the dough to either parchment paper or foil and let it rise in a bowl, then when your ready to bake lift dough out of bowl and place in your creuset pot and bake. When it’s finished lift out of pot. Don’t know if this helps but that’s what I would do.

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heather February 22, 2008 at 12:01 am

Hi there. I have been messing around with making no knead bread using 2/3 whole wheat and 1/3 white flour. It tastes great and has a great crust, but no matter how much I grease (crisco) my Creuset pot, the bread sticks to the sides and bottom especially. It also stuck when I dusted the pot with flour. I tried tapping the bottom, using a cake blade to get it to release, to no avail. I have to cut into the loaf and yank it pretty hard before it will release. Then it gets gummy cause I cut into it; vicious cycle.

Anybody know why this is happening? I’d love to not almost die every time I bake this bread; that hot heavy pot is quite dangerous!

Thanks,
Heather

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Annie June 15, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I wonder if you ever found a solution to your problem. I’m only about 5 years later in seeing your question…

Back before I got my clay baker I used a Creuset myself. I lined it with parchment paper by proofing the dough in a bowl lined with it and then dropped the whole thing, paper and dough right into the Creuset by lifting it by the paper. It came out perfectly every time. I think I got this method from Cook’s Illustrated long before I found Eric.

Hope this helps

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breadtopia February 10, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Joanne Polayes emailed this variation of the cranberry pecan recipe. Sounds great.

I just wanted to share my raisin-walnut bread recipe! I adapted it from your cranberry-pecan bread recipe (which I love). Basically, I substituted raisins for the dried cranberries and walnuts for the pecans and added 2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Also, I used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 2 cups bread flour and 1/4 tsp dry yeast instead of sourdough starter. It came out delicious!

She bakes it in her oblong la cloche.

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breadtopia February 3, 2008 at 7:41 am

Beth – sorry, somehow I missed your question. I wonder how noticeable the amaranth is in the recipe. So I think if you just substitute one or more of the other grains, like the quinoa and/or millet, you’ll be fine. I would probably use a Tbs. of each in place of the amaranth. For the topping, just leave it out. It won’t matter.

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breadtopia February 3, 2008 at 7:36 am

Absolutely. Using the fridge to slow things up to adapt the baking schedule to yours is a great technique. Just know that it doesn’t stop the rising process, it just slows it a lot. So when you take it out of the fridge, it may not take quite as long as usual to be ready to bake.

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Robina McCluskie February 3, 2008 at 5:02 am

Hi Eric can you tell me would i be able to retard the pecan and cranberry and the steel cut oat bread in my fridge say eight hours or so after shaping my time table is all over the place so i might not be able to bake when my bread is ready and i would possibly have to wait a while maybe 8 or a bit longer Robina

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Beth January 30, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Eric, It’s been a while since I’ve visited the site, but I’m back into this again! I wondered what you would suggest using instead of amaranth in the Seeded Sour Bread. I can’t find it here.

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Sheila January 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm

I made the cranberry-pecan bread in my new dutch oven yesterday, and even with three grandchildren around, it turned out fantastic. The crust did get a little too brown, and I will raise my racks as high as they can go and still fit, next time. It was my first no-knead experiment, and I was really impressed with the rise, the crumb and the flavour. I may have to throw out my almost new package of instant yeast. Thank you for another amazing recipe.

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breadtopia January 5, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Hi Molly,

I’m starting to think maybe there’s something about the cranberry pecan bread that’s more prone to burning on the bottom as it seems I’ve heard this more than once before. But I know it’s not necessary that it happens since it doesn’t happen to mine and most others. Sooo, one thing you can try is see if you can move the oven rack up a level or two. I’ve heard that helps. Otherwise, maybe your oven does run a little hot and you just have to lower the temp some. It can really help testing the bread with an instant read thermometer so you know you’re taking it out at the right time and not leaving in any longer than necessary. Once the inside hits 200-205, it’s done.

You’ll get it, it’s just going to take a little playing around. This bread recipe is totally worth the experimenting with your oven until you have it down.

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Molly January 5, 2008 at 3:36 pm

I have just made my first bread in the La Cloche. I just got my Cloches and starter this week. I used the yeast method for the Cranberry Pecan, which was because I had not activated my starter the night before and was still building it up. So, it looked great until i started cooking it. Completely burned on the bottom. Was I supposed to season the La Cloche first? Or is my oven just entirely too hot. I followed the recipe exactly (not really like me, but since it was the first time, i thought i had better be safe rather than sorry!). The only thing that was different was that I let it rise only about 16 hours. It looked completely ready and I was afraid the yeast was going to start breaking down as i had read in other posts. Honestly, I could smell that it was burning, but thought (hoped) it was just the cranberries. I have mixed up basic sourdough bread to bake tomorrow morning. Pleae let me know if there are adjustments you think i need to make…
thank you so much for everything. WHen i found this site i was actually looking for a recipe for my favorite cranberry pecan bread from Bread & Co. in Nashville, and all i was finding was quick breads. We have moved to a small, rural area and have no artisan type breads near us anymore. I used to bake a sourdough bread that was in basic loaves (used potato flakes in the starter) and was more of a sweet sourdough with a very light texture. I lost my starter in the move! oh, well!

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breadtopia January 2, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Hi Roberto.

You might get a thicker and crispier crust at the higher temperatures. Maybe try it both ways and see which way you prefer.

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Roberto January 2, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Hello,

I have a question on the baking temperature…when I make my NKB, I follow Lahey’s recipe (from the NYT article), which calls for pre-heating the container in the oven at 450F, baking at 450F for 30 minutes, then removing the lid and baking for another ~15mins at the same 450F, and my bread turns out great (at least I think so :)!)

The recipes here call for 500 F, then lowering the temp to 450 when removing the lid (the recipe in Feb08′s edition of Cook’s Illustrated also calls for these temperatures)…what is the difference? Should I change my technique? What would I gain?

Thanks!
R

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breadtopia December 31, 2007 at 9:41 am

Sometimes I like to add a little more flour because I find it gives me a better rise in the bread without taking away much from the open crumb.

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Harvey Cohen December 30, 2007 at 9:55 pm

The basic no-knead recipe says, “…2 cups (10 1/2 oz.) white bread flour…” while the steel cut oats recipe says, “…2 1/4 cups (10 oz.) bread flour”. I realize it is possible to measure flour so that 2 1/4 cups weighs less than 2 cups, but why do you want to?

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Doris December 27, 2007 at 9:33 am

I have found that it makes a huge difference as to what kind of flour you use. White all purpose makes many large holes compared to wheat flour that produces fewer. Also I have tried several brands of white flour and they all produce different results. Try useing different flours til you get the result you want. Hope this helps

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Jill December 24, 2007 at 5:08 pm

How do I adjust the no knead recipe for high altitude? I am at 7200 feet, by the way.
Thanks for your help!!

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breadtopia December 22, 2007 at 6:58 am

Hi Laura,

You could still let in rise at 60 degrees and just give it more time. Some people (like me) might even prefer this as, generally speaking, the longer the rising period the better the flavor.

But if that doesn’t work for you or time is an issue, many people let their dough rest/rise in their ovens with just the oven light bulb on. The light bulb generates a decent amount of heat. You can experiment with that. If the oven seems to be getting too warm, allow a tiny opening in the door.

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laura December 21, 2007 at 7:03 pm

It’s winter here and cold, outside and in. I prefer to wear more clothes than run heated air, so how do I keep my dough warm enough during the resting/rising periods? My house is usually around 60 degrees.

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breadtopia December 16, 2007 at 7:11 pm

That sounds like a good idea. I’d probably try around 450 with the lid on instead of 500 to start with and bake an extra 5 minutes before checking with a thermometer. That’s just a rough guess of course.

I did make the bread today and it is very good. I couldn’t resist sprinkling a cinnamon/sugar mix over the dough before that final fold to give it a swirl of sweetness. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. Turns out I don’t think I added enough extra to make much of a difference.

I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes with some milk and lower temp. I’m probably thinking the same as you – maybe cinnamon raisin bread is better a little on the softer side.

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Kendra December 16, 2007 at 3:25 pm

I’m thinking of trying this recipe again, but adding some butter and honey so that the crumb is softer. It would also be nice if it lasted a day or two longer before going stale. If I do that, I need to lower the temperature, right? Any recommendation on time and temperature to use?

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breadtopia December 14, 2007 at 8:46 pm

Thanks much, Kendra. Your recipe sounds wonderful. I’ve printed it out to try this weekend. I was just thinking of making cinnamon raisin buns, but this looks better. Great timing!

Eric

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Kendra December 14, 2007 at 4:31 pm

I love cinnamon raisin bread for breakfast, so I decided to tinker with one of the no-knead recipes to see what I could come up with. Here’s what I did:

10 oz. bread flour
3 oz. white whole wheat flour
3 oz. steel cut oats
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
12 oz. water
1/3 cup starter
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

This is basically a combination of the steel cut oats recipe and the cranberry pecan recipe. I just changed out the fruit and nuts, added some cinnamon, and increased the starter a little bit.

It turned out beautifully. I got a wide open, irregular crumb, nice crunchy crust, and huge oven spring. It tastes heavenly. I don’t think there will be any left over for breakfast!

Take Care,
Kendra

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Russ December 13, 2007 at 1:47 pm

Trying out my own variation on the parm-olive bread, it’s proofing as we speak. I’ve varied in that I used Mizithra cheese in place of the parmesan and chopped up my kalamatas because I like that cheese and for the sake of getting at least a little olive in every bite.

A thought on the question above about why yogurt rather than milk in the seeded sourdough recipe: Maybe because of the long proofing time at above refrigerated temps, since yogurt is already “soured” it seems it would be less likely to spoil as plain milk would be likely to (Isn’t the lactobacillus in yogurt and sourdough alike said to help keep other, unwanted bacteria controlled?).

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Shelly November 28, 2007 at 3:43 am

Thank you Eric. You should have your own tv show. I can’t believe the Food Network hasn’t snatched you up yet.

Shelly

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breadtopia November 27, 2007 at 11:08 am

Hi Shelly,

Sounds like an extra 4 hours of sleep is a nice trade off for a flat loaf that still tastes good ;).

The 1 cup of whole wheat will usually keep you from getting quite as nice a rise as from all white flour, but it wouldn’t usually make as big a difference as you saw. It probably was the additional proofing time. The starter consumed too much of the available nutrients and so there wasn’t so much left to give it that “oven spring” boost when you put it in the oven.

Sometimes you can get by with extra time if the room is real cold but I usually don’t even wait the whole 18 hours. For me 17 works about the same. After a bit, you’ll get a good feel for what works best in your kitchen.

Glad you’re having fun with this!

Eric

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Shelly November 27, 2007 at 3:48 am

Hello Eric,

I made my first loaf of no knead bread with whole wheat flour added. I tried the standard recipe & had great success. For the whole wheat variation I used 1 cup of whole wheat flour with 2 cups of white & followed the directions. My loaf came out fairly flat this time. Is that normal for whole wheat? The only thing I did wrong was let it rise for 22 hours instead of 18 (fell asleep!). Would that have made the difference? I also sprinkled both the top & bottom with a fair amount of cornmeal to prevent it from sticking to the towel during the 2nd rise.

In any event, it tasted fantastic regardless of it being a flat loaf of bread (looked like biscotti when cut) so no harm no foul.

Thanks for your wonderful website & all the videos. It’s truly helpful to us amateurs out there.

Regards,
Shelly
Snohomish, WA

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breadtopia November 26, 2007 at 7:02 pm

If it sits out too long the acids in the sourdough break down the gluten. Plus the sourdough simple exhausts its food supply. I think that’s what happened in your case. If you want to extend beyond 18 hrs, you can refrigerate after mixing and take it out some time before baking to finish proofing. If you’re going to deviate from the recipe a lot, just experiment with the refrigeration thing and you’ll come up with something that works.

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Hedy November 26, 2007 at 5:47 pm

Just thought I would let you know what happened to my last no-knead experience. I put a whole wheat sour dough starter and part WW and King Arthur White Flour recipe together on Wednesday morning before I left for work (7:00 a.m.)…All is going a long great. By Thursday evening I had a great sour-smelling, puffed up no-knead dough. This whole time I have not refrigerated the dough. On Friday afternoon when I wanted to make my bread…I noticed no sour smell. In fact no smell at all. I found that quite strange. I tried to pick up my dough to form in a floured cloth and the whole dough just disintegrated in my hand. There was no elasticity at all.It was sticky and grainyish. Really weird consistency. I tried to bake a small amount just to see if if would bake at all in a normal hot oven. It baked flat. I tasted it. It tasted sour, not in a good way…but like it was spoiled.
Conclusion: I guess…less is best, less time that is, instead of trying to make the sour time longer, I overdid it. I think one can not do more than 18 hours…or do you have to refrigerate the dough and for up to how long can dough ferment and not fall apart? What do you say? Would love your feed back. I thought I should share this outcome, in case someone else thinks they can over-sour a dough too.
Thanks again for all your help.
Hedy

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Laura November 23, 2007 at 9:06 pm

Okay. I’ll be the guinea pig and let you know. I made the cranberry/pecan for thanksgiving and it was a huge hit. Then I made a white bread with 1 T. fennel seeds and some olive oil (I don’t know how much because I didn’t have much left) and that was delicious. So much fun!
thanks, Laura

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breadtopia November 23, 2007 at 8:16 am

Hi Laura,

Not every bread recipe is suited to no knead, but you can certainly give yours a try, probably best tested on yourself first ;).

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